Snicker Doodle Time Machine

October 3rd, 2012

Proust had his magic cookies. I have mine.

As a child, I loved cookbooks. One of my very favorites was written especially for kids: The Cookie Book. I believe I was in second grade when I painstakingly chose it from the monthly Scholastic pamphlet like the ones my own grade schooler waves in front of me, dog-eared and check-marked, every month. Here’s a photo of me from around that time.


I don’t know why I was pouting. Maybe I was feeling queasy from all the goldenrod decor. Side note: I wish my mom would still make me  clothes like that. That smock would cost two hundred dollars at Anthropologie.

My Cookie Book not only survived the seventies, it survived my tumultuous teens all through the eighties (including the fire that destroyed my childhood home), and my rambling twenties. Its endurance was finally rewarded when I unearthed it among my mother’s keepsakes, and brought it to Little Rock to meet my children.

The book has 12 cookie recipes, one for each month. My favorite is October’s: Snicker Doodles. We’re only three days into the month, and I’ve made them twice already.

The texture is incredible — soft and chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside. They taste and smell out of this world. And they really do look like a harvest moon.

The recipe in the book is written for young children, with meticulously detailed, step-by-step instructions that cover two pages. Here’s an abridged version, that assumes you know how to break eggs and cream butter with sugar.


(from the COOKIE BOOK by Eva Moore, published by Scholastic in 1973)

  • 1/2 c. butter or other soft shortening
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t cream of tartar
  • 1 T granulated sugar + 1 T cinnamon for coating


Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg, and beat it all together. “Beat it and beat it,” instructs the book.

Sift dry ingredients together (except the cinnamon sugar coating). Gradually add to the creamed butter mixture, stirring until you have a sticky dough.

Cover and chill for one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 and mix cinnamon with sugar on a small plate. Break off walnut sized pieces of cookie dough and form into balls. Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar, then place on an ungreased cookie sheet with lots of room around each. Bake without opening the oven door for ten minutes.

“Then look–magic! The cinnamon-sugar balls have become flat and crinkly snicker doodles!”

And they can travel through time, pulling you back to your mother’s kitchen on an crisp autumn day, enveloped in warmth and sweetness and goldenrod.




12 Responses to “Snicker Doodle Time Machine”

  1. sara l says:

    OMG, I HAD that book and had totally forgotten it even existed. The snickerdoodles were my favorite! I just put it on reserve at the library. Can’t wait to share it with 6YO daughter.

  2. Kristina says:

    Me too! I completely forgot about it – I loved that book. I’ve got to track a copy down. Thanks for the memory!

  3. marilee pittman says:

    and the yellow leaves against the beautiful blue October sky casting a golden hue through the kitchen windows…

  4. Newfie_girl says:

    Unbelievably, I still have that very same book! I loved it when I was a kid. 🙂 It’s quite dog-eared now, and very fragile, but still intact. I should pull it out and try out some of the recipes with my girl…

  5. Alexandra says:

    Love what your mother says above.

    I go back to my Abuelita’s kitchen when I make rice pudding, strawberries on top …

  6. Sally says:

    Kyran, when I saw the cover of your cookbook I ran to search the my stack of childhood books & found my copy of The Lucky Cook Book for Boys and Girls, same author, same illustrator! Brings back fond memories of poring over the Scholastic flyers while rumbling down dusty country roads on the school bus. Also, Snickerdoodles were one of my grandmother’s specialties – more fond memories – which I made with my now-university age kids – memories, memories! I’m a Floridian who followed a Canadian to Toronto & raised Canadian children & I really enjoyed Planting Dandelions – many parallels, in reverse, to my journey. Thanks for your stories.

  7. Julie says:

    Thank you for posting this. This recipe is my favorite snickerdoodle recipe. I got this book in 2nd grade. I lost it in a house fire in 1999. I now have a part of my childhood back.

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